It’s late in the evening on the 20th of November 2018; otherwise known as “the month that will not end.” Since the initial shock of the Camp Fire incinerating my home and my hometown, I’ve been struggling with details small, large, and life-altering. My house is burned out and for now so am I.
But all is not gloom and doom. I have, against all odds, actually secured a small apartment in Chico, a town where there are no apartments or houses to be had for love or money — unless it is a LOT of love or a LOT of money. In my case, it was the love of many here in Chico for my mother. Through what I have taken to calling “The Power of Lois” an apartment appeared on my path and I took it. What is even better is that it is located close to my mother’s apartment. This enables us to go from being “roommates” to “neighbors.”
The apartment is a tiny place (about a sixth of what my house was) but it is quite secure and recently refurbished and it will suit me down to the ground.
This forms one of the three pillars of my own personal salvation and deliverance from the fires of Paradise. The second pillar is formed of a living chain of my friends and readers whose help and support have carried me through and, in all senses of the term, returned me to life. To say I am deeply moved and grateful for all your unremitting and instantaneous aid is to barely touch my gratitude. I am a man of words and I have always been suspicious when I read “there are no words.” But all of you have made me a believer.
The third pillar has to be the continuing and mysterious grace of God.
Now it is late and I am, I confess, very, very tired. I’ve been running on empty for many days and I think I am going to have to take a break for tomorrow and for Thanksgiving and perhaps the day after. I have many notes and will have many things to say about this unmitigated catastrophe, but they will have to wait.
Farewell for a bit and God bless you all. Have a deep and profound Thanksgiving. This year I know that my family will when we gather at my brother’s home. At my brother’s, we don’t normally drink a great deal of wine but this year we will toast all of you. Each and every one.
And then I will go outside into the woods near his home in Grass Valley and for all those who did not survive the fire this time I will turn down an empty glass.